Greetings from South Korea!! I am officially writing to you from the Land of the Morning Calm, or so they say. I've yet to see this calm A.M. they speak of due to jetlag, stress over a new job, and a mattress that just doesn't hold up to the old memory-foam back home. But I will press on! I arrived very very late on Saturday night after 15 hours in the air, 4 more on a bus, and then a very scary late night cab ride with a man who knew absolutely NO English to reach my final destination.
And I simply cannot lie to the invisible blog reader that may accidentally and/or on purpose happen across this: that first night was a rough one. I was having all these second thoughts and thinking to myself, "What the hell was I thinkin?!" I signed up to live in this strange place, with this awful wallpaper coating every single surface, even the ceiling, for an entire year??!! (See photo for wallpaper explaination). I wallowed in self-pity for about another 24 hours, considered making a countdown calendar starting with 367 days to go, looked at some old pictures and got dangerously close to shedding a tear. But then I said, "No more!"
It is perhaps due to my first outing that this newly received dose of optimism arrived. After spending no less than 36 hours holed up in my apartment with no confidence, and more importantly, no food or drink, I forced myself to shower and exit the building. And to my delight, a mere block away was a very convenient convenience store, stocked with everything I could possibly need if only I understood Korean. I settled on the few familiar things I recognized--Pringles, and couple of bananas and Coke-- and decided to become more experiemental at a later time. At that point, I simply required nourishment.
A few other things that I can report on, now since my humor has returned and shushed up my self-conscious: my air-conditioner thingy that is in my apartment is quite the mystery. It has a remote, which is entirely labeled in Korean, so decifering what is cool or hot, up or down, off or on has all become a mystery to me. I just keep hitting buttons and alternating between hot as balls and cold as a witches tit.
I will also comment on the paper thin walls. I am praying that my neighbor is an American who really digs Springsteen, otherwise we are going to have some conversations about the volume and frequency of my music listening. If anyone next to, above, below, or across from me decides to shower, s***, cook, or launder, I will most likely know the intimate details of their experiences doing so.
I've only spent a little time at the school where I while be teaching, but so far it seems to be a very nice establisment. There are somewhere around 20 teachers running around, some of them Korean, some of them Canadian, some of the American, and one Englishman. It has been a very exciting day, without a doubt, but since all I did was sit and observe, I reserve work stories for a later date when they will undoubtly be much more enlightening and entertaining.